Leadership Identification

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The Competing Values Leadership Framework is a tool that identifies the critical organizational behaviors that provide business value. It looks at leadership behaviors and how those behaviors produce organizational conditions that, in turn, produce specific types of value in the marketplace.

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Competing Values Framework


Organizational Design

The Competing Values Leadership Assessment identifies the linkages between business objectives and the innate competencies that managers exhibit.

This application of the Competing Values Framework represents the deepest and most enriched level of the framework, one that looks to instill new value by developing the capacity for integrating positive opposites within leadership abilities.

The primary value of the Competing Values Framework (CVF) lies in its ability to identify the blind spots that we all carry; our dominant logic causes us to not see value in the things that we are not intimately involved in. A manager who is tasked with delivering with a high degree of accuracy may not value the novelty and process variation that a new and creative solution offers. A manager who is driven by quarterly earnings may not see value in a business move that will not prove profitable for at least three years. To this end, four central management models emerge: a Human Relations model, an Internal Process model, An Open Systems model, and a Rational Goal model. Each of these competencies has a proclivity to drive behaviors towards certain outcomes.

In the rapidly shifting business environments that we encounter, the need to adjust strategies and expectations in efficient and effective manners is of growing importance and increasingly, business leaders are being expected to drive new value out of dynamically competing interests. Having, as a core competency, the ability to manage staff that represents diverse and differentiated tensions, is a new management requirement. Being able to identify current behaviors and then situationally adapt, creating hybrid models of management behavior that takes the power of this dynamic conflict and turns it into constructive conflict, is rapidly becoming the new identifying trait of successful managers.

CVF Leadership attributes include:

Collaborate – Archetype characteristics:

  • Leadership Value Drivers:
    Commitment, development, and communication.
    Facilitator, mentor, and team builder.
    Managing teams, interpersonal relationships, and managing the development of others.

Compete – Archetype characteristics:

  • Leadership Value Drivers:
    Market share, goal achievement, short-term performance, and profitability.
    Aggressive, hard-driver, producer, and competitor.
    Managing competitiveness, energizing employees, and managing customer service.

Control – Archetype characteristics:

  • Leadership Value Drivers:
    Efficiency, timeliness, consistency, uniformity, and systematic problem solving.
    Coordinator, monitor, and organizer.
    Managing assimilation, managing the control system, and managing coordination.

Create – Archetype characteristics:

  • Leadership Value Drivers:
    Innovative outputs, transformation, finding creative solutions, and creating new standards.
    Innovator, visionary, and entrepreneur.
    Managing innovation, managing the future, and managing continuous improvement.

As the calls from the C-suite increases, driving a need for “creativity and innovation” to drive new business growth, so will the pressure on traditional management competencies continue to grow. The Competing Values Framework offers an understanding and an approach that is effective and actionable from a level of personal influence of the individual, extended to the group behaviors that surround collaborative effort and then extensible into the enterprise.

Common Pitfalls

Leaders that fail to adapt to an integrated management model will find it increasingly difficult to obtain the complex business results that are emerging.

As workforces continue to diversify and as businesses, once highly specialized, become increasingly variegated – the need to creatively adapt will only be possible if leadership is capable of modeling and fostering the behaviors needed.

The results of a homogenized leadership team with singular competencies:

  • Singularity of valueNo one thing, should do just one thing… Leaders must be cognizant of their dominant strength and understand how to use the power of constructive conflict - blending their strength with another to create a new, hybrid capability. Without this ability to blend creativity with predictability, speed with accuracy, and loss with win; a leader can provide only limited measures of value. He or she will only be competent at ensuring compliance, not at accommodating changing requirements. Only able to provide brilliant, new ideas and never capable of delivering on them. Fully capable of hitting the quarterly projections but abysmal at keeping staff, let alone fostering commitment to the organization.
  • Reduced cross-organizational communication – Empathy is one of the greatest by-products of the Competing Values Framework. A leader who has the ability to empathetically understand the value proposition that another department offers has gone a long way towards fostering meaningful communication with that group. These informal communication channels typically prove to be of greatest value across organizational lines. Very little trust is developed across formal communication lines within organizational structures; the use of empathy has a collective power that increases the value of a company by strengthening its tacit knowledge. Leaders who remain singular/specialized in a focus offer a lower likelihood of fostering cross-departmental cooperation, and as such, offer little beyond that of minimal, incremental influence. Have a member of the Creative Department buddy up with a member from Finance – the resulting idea could offer your customers affordable, surprise and delight!
  • Limited or single channel innovation – How you innovate is what you innovate. If your processes are driven by high degrees of uniformity in thinking, then it’s highly unlikely that anyone will come up with an innovation that is even half standard deviation outside of the mean. In layman’s terms – the innovation is likely to be incremental, a small improvement. That may be good enough, but why be good when you can be great for the same price? If your innovation pipeline is filled with sure bets and small wins, then you’ve got a leadership team that is not in tune with their evolving markets. Innovation has a requirement that it displaces something – typically what it displaces is what you already sell in another part of your catalog; you’re cannibalizing your own sales. Limited and single channel innovation can actually work against your company goals – limit this by improving the cooperative command of your workforce; introduce the power of diversity and constructive conflict.